WhatsApp has announced that it is introducing the ability to use the same WhatsApp account on multiple phones.
Message Seamlessly Across All Devices
WhatsApp says that this change gives users globally the ability to message seamlessly across all their devices without signing out, and to pick up their chats where they left off.
Employees Can Use The Same Account
For small businesses, for example, being able to use the same WhatsApp account on multiple phones means that in addition to the business owner, other employees are now able to respond to customers directly from their phones under the same WhatsApp Business account.
Phone As One Of Up To Four Additional Devices
The change means that users can link their phone as one of up to four additional devices, the same as when linking with WhatsApp on web browsers, tablets, and desktops.
When and Who?
The update has already started rolling out to users globally and will be available to everyone in the coming weeks.
Maintains The Same Level Of Privacy And Security
WhatsApp says that the change won’t mean any loss of privacy and security because:
- Each linked phone connects to WhatsApp independently, ensuring that personal messages, media, and calls are end-to-end encrypted.
- If the primary device is inactive for a long period, WhatsApp will automatically log the primary out of all companion devices.
Receive One-Time Code
WhatsApp has also said that it’s introducing an alternative and more accessible way to link to companion devices by allowing users to enter their phone number on WhatsApp Web to receive a one-time code, which can be used on their phone to enable device linking, rather than having to scan a QR code.
Isn’t WhatsApp Going To Block UK Users Anyway?
Whilst this sounds like a potentially useful update, it’s not long since the boss of WhatsApp, Will Cathcart, said he would rather stop users in the UK from using the app than lower its security, as suggested by the UK’s Online Safety Bill. It’s also only a couple of weeks since Cathcart and the head of the Signal app signed an open letter warning of ‘unprecedented threat to safety and security’ of UK citizens if the bill effectively ended end-to-end encryption and allowed the scanning of private messages.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
For small businesses, allowing multiple employees to connect to the same WhatsApp account with their individual devices could deliver faster and more joined-up communications as they can respond directly to customers. It will also save time and effort by not having to sign out and by being able to quickly pick up their chats where they left off, thereby improving efficiency.
Giving WhatsApp Web users the option to be sent a code rather than always having to scan a QR Code may also simplify matters for many users. Businesses will also be pleased to hear that the new WhatsApp update won’t compromise security and privacy.
However, WhatsApp has still not resolved its issue with the UK government over the Online Safety Bill’s potential to damage the privacy and security of the app, and UK businesses are still faced with the prospect that WhatsApp could simply ban them as users if the issue is not resolved soon.
By Mike Knight